Black Friday sales: the 10 best stores for 2015

Black Friday sales at Target, Walmart, and Kohl's are definitely worth checking out, but none of them can top the deals offered by a well-known electronics giant. 

Brendan McDermid/Reuters/File
Customers ride the escalator at a JCPenney store in New York. JCPenney has one of the best Black Friday sales for 2015.

It's hard to believe, but Black Friday is now just nine short days away, and with a few notable exceptions, most of the major 2015 Black Friday ad circulars have been released.

To prepare you for the madness ahead, we put together a list of the top 10 best sales in the business. We do this every year, but this year we decided to switch it up a bit by ranking them. To be fair, even the "worst" sale on this list still packs a pretty decent punch, so think of this as a ranking from "OK, not too shabby" to "YAAAAS!!" Remember, we've posted more than 100 Black Friday ads so far this year, so these 10 are all in the 90th percentile as far as quality sales are concerned.

To help you plan your shopping strategy, we've also highlighted three top deals that we consider to be the best of the bunch at that particular store. With that in mind, let's dive right in, starting at #10.

10. Sears

While #10 on our list, the Sears Black Friday sale has a lot of great options on tools and appliances.

Proform 475 Elliptical -- $279.99 (originally $599.99) This is $20 under the lowest price we've ever seen on this machine, and a steal when compared with other brands. If you're looking to get shape for a LOT less than a year's worth of gym membership charges will set you back, this is a good buy.

Kenmore Washer/Dryer Set -- $549.98 for the pair (originally $1,060) A nearly 50 percent discount of a quality washer/dryer set. There's not much that beats this..

Trimmings Traditions Airblown Christmas Pals -- $19.99 (originally $76.99) They had this same deal last year, and right now these adorable lawn ornaments are selling for $50 on Amazon, so this price is a steal.

9. Toys "R" Us

Toys "R" Us is always one of the most hotly-anticipated ads, but its prices rarely make it worth the wait. That being said, there definitely are always some steals to be had hidden in this year's circular.

LeapFrog LeapReader -- $19.99 (originally $34.99) This popular kids' reading and writing system is on sale for $10 less than it was last year!

Trivial Pursuit Hints and Taboo Buzz'd games -- $3 each (originally $13.99) Toys "R" Us has normal board games on sale for $3 last year, but this electronic selection is new. 

Call of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox 360 and Angry Birds: Star Wars NintendoDS -- $1 each (originally $12.99) Yes these games are a little outdated, but if you missed the boat when they first came out, it's hard to beat $1 for a new game. Plus, Amazon is currently selling these for $10.

8. Macy's

If you're shopping at Macy's on Black Friday, chances are you already have a deal in mind. If it's one of these, all I can say is that great minds thing alike!

Tag Springfield 5-Piece Luggage Set -- $49.99 (originally $200) This is $10 less than the lowest price we've ever seen on this set outside of the holiday season. A really great deal for the family who travels together.

All 3-Piece Comforter sSets -- $19.99 (originally $80) This is a hot seller on Brad's Deals, and for $60 less than the asking price it's really hard to go wrong. Stock up and save on cute patterns and colors to brighten up all the bedrooms in your house.

Beauty steals!

7. Kmart

Kmart's deals are solid this season, with lots of holiday decor and appliance sales to boot.

6' Unlit Tree -- $15 (originally $49.99) -- Deck the halls with this beautiful and realistic synthetic Christmas tree, which won't force you to haul a giant tree to the dumpster on Boxing Day.

Proctor Silex Small Electronics -- $3 each (originally $9.99) Um, a $3 toaster, iron, hand mixer or electronic can opener? Yes. This is $2 less than last year's $5 deal, and for comparison, the lowest price on an iron we've ever seen on our site has been $7. So basically if you're in need of any of these things run, don't walk, for this deal.

Intex Inflatable Chair and Ottoman  -- $17.99 (originally $29.99) This is the lowest price on inflatable loungers that we've seen in a long time. Great for a teen's room or when you have guests in town.

6. JCPenney

Cuisinart 12-piece Advantage Knife Set -- $14.99 (originally $50) This colorful knife set is both stylish and a kitchen essential. This is the lowest price we've ever seen for this particular set, and  (page 2) matches lowest price we've ever seen for this set

Cooks 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker -- $4.99 (originally $20) Yup, you read that right. A slow cooker for under $5. It's not big, but it gets the job done. Plus this is the lowest price we have EVER seen on a slow cooker, last year this same model was $8.

16-piece Soleil or Quinto Dinnerware set -- $9.99 (originally  $50) This beautiful dinnerware set is simple and elegant, and at $9.99 the price really can't be beat, in fact it's $7 less than the lowest price we've ever seen on this set.

5. Staples

Staples' refusal to open on Thanksgiving Day has made it a fan favorite this year, and their deals aren't bad either!

16GB iPad Mini 4 -- $299.99 (originally $399.99) This is the lowest I've seen the mini 4 on sale for this year, and while 16GB isn't a TON of space, if you use your tablet for mostly web browsing that doesn't really matter.

Amazon Fire, Case and 32GB microSD card bundle -- $54.99 (originally $79.99) This isn't the lowest price we've ever seen on a Fire (it's on sale for $49.99 at Best Buy right now), but the case and the SD card make this deal worthwhile.

HP 14" Laptop with Intel Core i3 Processor -- $299.99 (originally $599.99) When it comes to 14" laptops, this is $50 cheaper than any comparable model we've posted this year.

4. Target

Target has very similar deals year to year, and they're always pretty darn good. You can check out our full breakdown of the Target ad here, but here are our top three favorite deals:

Xbox One bundle with Gears of War -- $299 + $60 gift card (originally $349) Both Walmart and Best Buy have this for the same price, but the $60 gift card, which brings down the net cost to $239, makes Target the place to go to snatch up this console bundle.

Apple Watch -- $349 +100 gift card (originally $349) OK so no immediate discounts here, but that's to be expected with first gen. Apple products. The $100 gift card brings the effective cost of this wearable tech down to $249, however, which is actually a great price.

Faberware 20-pc Cookware Set -- $49.99 (originally $89.99) As Rebecca wrote in our analysis of this ad: "We saw a 15-pc set from this brand selling for $49.99 in August, and that was a good deal. Target ups the ante on Black Friday by offering an extra 5 pieces of this durable non-stick set for the same price."

3. Walmart

Walmart's Black Friday sale is not quite as good as it's been in previous years, but it's still good enough to earn it the #3 spot on our list. In my opinion, some of the best deals in this ad are items under the the 1-Hour Guarantee, which you can find on the back page of the ad.

Beats Studio Headphones -- $169 (originally $229.95) This is a great price on a sought-after holiday gift, and it comes with the 1-Hour Guarantee, so even if they sell out at the store you're at, as long as you pay for them within an hour of when the sale starts, you're guaranteed to get them in time for Christmas.

Fitbit Flex Wristband -- $59 (originally $99) This is the lowest price we've ever seen on this fitness tracking wristband, and although it's not under the 1-Hour Guarantee, it's available online and will be good buy for either a holiday gift for someone else or a way to jump-start your own New Years resolutions.

Crock-Pot Stainless 5-qt Slow Cooker -- $9.72 (originally ~$30) If I didn't jump the gun and purchase this EXACT slow cooker last summer I'd be buying it for $20 less on Black Friday. Let's all take a moment of silence for the money I could have saved if I'd just waited

2. Kohl's

If you're a regular reader of this blog you'll know how seriously obsessed we are with the Kohl's Black Friday ad. Year after year, they prove themselves to be one of the strongest contenders in the Black Friday sale game, and yet they rarely get the credit they deserve. between the Kohl's Cash, the Yes2You Rewards, the mail-in rebates and the coupon stacking, things are always cheaper than they appear at Kohl's, which earns it the silver medal on our list.

KitchenAid 4.5-qt Stand Mixer -- $115.50 after coupon stacking (originally $299.99) We've covered this Black Friday hack before, and this is by far the best deal you're going to see on a KitchenAid mixer. Here's how we got to this number from the $199.99 listed in the ad:

$199.99 is the post-rebate price, so when you buy it, you'll put it in your cart at $229.99. If this year is like last year (and the year before, and the year before that), Kohl's will offer a site-wide 15 percent off discount on Black Friday. That means you'll get $34.49 taken off at checkout, so you'll pay $195.50 upfront. Not at all a bad price for this machine, but it gets a lot better once you make the purchase. Mail in the $30 rebate and you've pushed it down to $165.50, then factor in the $45 Kohl's Cash and the $5 in Yes2You rewards and you're looking at an effective cost of $115.50 on what's normally a $300 mixer. Magic, right?

Innovative Technology 40-in Bluetooth Stereo Tower Speaker -- $39.99 (originally $99.99) I'm forever guilty of buying crappy $20 speakers that break immediately, so this deal caught my eye as a price actually I'd be willing to pay for speakers that I won't have to replace next week.

Dress and casual boots for women and juniors -- $29.99 (originally $84.99-$99.99) Boots are my favorite kind of shoe and I have a pair for every occasion. This deal is great and I will definitely be shopping it from the comfort of my couch on Black Friday.

1. Best Buy

This is hands-down the best Black Friday sale of the year. With all the hottest electronics on sale for insane prices, it was really hard for us to narrow it down to just three top deal picks. If you want to see more, we wrote an entire article breaking down the best of this sale, so check that out if these top deals don't fit your fancy:

Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats2 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds -- $99.99 (originally $199.99 This is actually the lowest we've EVER seen these headphones priced, and they've been a hot Christmas item for a while now. Rebecca noted in her ad analysis that even refurbs usually go for more than this, so if you've been waiting for a good time to buy 'em new, this is your chance.

49" Toshiba LED 1080p HDTV -- $149.99 (originally $429.99) I online shop for a living, so it's very rare that a in-store only doorbuster deal gets my attention. While I don't think I'll be waiting outside in the cold for this TV, I totally would if I didn't have, you know, a family and Thanksgiving dinner plans. 4K might be the future, but this is an amazing price on a relatively large HDTV.

iPad Mini 4 (64GB/128GB) -- $399.99-$499.99 (originally $499.99-$599.99) We were VERY surprised by this deal, as any discount on the iPad mini 4 is extremely rare. It's so rare, in fact, that we have actually never posted one on the site before. Both the 64GB and the 128GB will be $100 off this year and that's nothing to sniff at when it comes to Apple discounts.

This article first appeared in Brad's Deals. 

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